Architecture

The Metaphone: Is it a building or an instrument?

The Metaphone: Is it a buildin...
The Metaphone, by Herault Arnod Architects (Photo: André Morin)
The Metaphone, by Herault Arnod Architects (Photo: André Morin)
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The melding of architecture and music is uncommon enough to pique our interest (Image: André Morin)
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The melding of architecture and music is uncommon enough to pique our interest (Image: André Morin)
The Metaphone measures 1,980 sq m (21,312 sq ft) (Image: André Morin)
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The Metaphone measures 1,980 sq m (21,312 sq ft) (Image: André Morin)
The Metaphone was built at a cost of €6.3 million (roughly US$8.6 million) (Photo: André Morin)
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The Metaphone was built at a cost of €6.3 million (roughly US$8.6 million) (Photo: André Morin)
A model of The Metaphone, by Herault Arnod Architects (Photo: André Morin)
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A model of The Metaphone, by Herault Arnod Architects (Photo: André Morin)
A smaller proof-of-concept version of the system that now adorns the building's facade and porch area (Photo: Marie Clérin)
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A smaller proof-of-concept version of the system that now adorns the building's facade and porch area (Photo: Marie Clérin)
The Metaphone is the centerpiece of an ongoing project to regenerate a former coal mine in the Pas-de-Calais region of northern France (Photo: André Morin)
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The Metaphone is the centerpiece of an ongoing project to regenerate a former coal mine in the Pas-de-Calais region of northern France (Photo: André Morin)
The Metaphone was built at a cost of €6.3 million (roughly US$8.6 million) (Photo: André Morin)
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The Metaphone was built at a cost of €6.3 million (roughly US$8.6 million) (Photo: André Morin)
The Metaphone, by Herault Arnod Architects (Photo: André Morin)
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The Metaphone, by Herault Arnod Architects (Photo: André Morin)
The Metaphone is the centerpiece of an ongoing project to regenerate a former coal mine in the Pas-de-Calais region of northern France (Photo: André Morin)
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The Metaphone is the centerpiece of an ongoing project to regenerate a former coal mine in the Pas-de-Calais region of northern France (Photo: André Morin)
The project also nicely illustrates the evolution of our changing views on electricity production thanks to solar panels installed on the building's roof (Photo: André Morin)
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The project also nicely illustrates the evolution of our changing views on electricity production thanks to solar panels installed on the building's roof (Photo: André Morin)
Essentially, The Metaphone can be thought of as a very large (and rather expensive) instrument to be experienced from within or outside (Photo: André Morin)
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Essentially, The Metaphone can be thought of as a very large (and rather expensive) instrument to be experienced from within or outside (Photo: André Morin)
Within the building's porch area are other assorted instruments such as large xylophones, drums, cymbals and singing bowls – all of which are also hooked up to MIDI keyboards in the control room (Photo: André Morin)
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Within the building's porch area are other assorted instruments such as large xylophones, drums, cymbals and singing bowls – all of which are also hooked up to MIDI keyboards in the control room (Photo: André Morin)
The Metaphone is the centerpiece of an ongoing project to regenerate a former coal mine in the Pas-de-Calais region of northern France (Photo: André Morin)
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The Metaphone is the centerpiece of an ongoing project to regenerate a former coal mine in the Pas-de-Calais region of northern France (Photo: André Morin)
The Metaphone was built at a cost of €6.3 million (roughly US$8.6 million) (Photo: André Morin)
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The Metaphone was built at a cost of €6.3 million (roughly US$8.6 million) (Photo: André Morin)
The melding of architecture and music is uncommon enough to pique our interest (Image: André Morin)
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The melding of architecture and music is uncommon enough to pique our interest (Image: André Morin)
There is, of course, a bar in The Metaphone (Photo: André Morin)
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There is, of course, a bar in The Metaphone (Photo: André Morin)
The Metaphone contains a fully-featured concert hall plus all necessary amenities and service areas within its black concrete walls (Photo: André Morin)
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The Metaphone contains a fully-featured concert hall plus all necessary amenities and service areas within its black concrete walls (Photo: André Morin)
The Metaphone contains a fully-featured concert hall plus all necessary amenities and service areas within its black concrete walls (Photo: André Morin)
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The Metaphone contains a fully-featured concert hall plus all necessary amenities and service areas within its black concrete walls (Photo: André Morin)
Its facade sports metal plates which produce musical notes when manipulated by vibration (Image: André Morin)
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Its facade sports metal plates which produce musical notes when manipulated by vibration (Image: André Morin)
The plates are played from within the building's musical control room, via MIDI keyboards hooked up to a computer-equipped sound system (Image: André Morin)
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The plates are played from within the building's musical control room, via MIDI keyboards hooked up to a computer-equipped sound system (Image: André Morin)
Architectural drawing of The Metaphone (Image: André Morin)
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Architectural drawing of The Metaphone (Image: André Morin)
View gallery - 21 images

Though not unheard of, the melding of architecture and music is uncommon enough to pique our interest, especially when done on the scale of The Metaphone, by Herault Arnod Architects. The firm recently constructed an unusual combined music hall and instrument as centerpiece of an ongoing project to regenerate a former coal mine in the Pas-de-Calais region of northern France.

Measuring 1,980 sq m (21,312 sq ft), and built at a cost of €6.3 million (roughly US$8.6 million), The Metaphone contains a fully-featured concert hall plus all necessary amenities and service areas within its black concrete walls. The project also nicely illustrates the evolution of our changing views on electricity production thanks to solar panels installed on the building's roof.

Without doubt though, The Metaphone's main draw is its unusual musical abilities.

The Metaphone contains a fully-featured concert hall plus all necessary amenities and service areas within its black concrete walls (Photo: André Morin)
The Metaphone contains a fully-featured concert hall plus all necessary amenities and service areas within its black concrete walls (Photo: André Morin)

Essentially, The Metaphone can be thought of as a very large (and rather expensive) instrument to be experienced from within or outside. Its facade sports metal plates which produce musical notes when manipulated by vibration. These plates are played from within the building's musical control room, via MIDI keyboards hooked up to a computer-equipped sound system.

Additionally, within the building's porch area are other assorted instruments such as large xylophones, drums, cymbals and singing bowls – all of which are hooked up to MIDI keyboards in the control room.

The best way to get a sense of what The Metaphone is all about is to check out the short video below, which was made as a smaller proof-of-concept version of the musical facade before the building was constructed.

Source: Herault Arnod Architects

Le Métaphone

View gallery - 21 images
2 comments
Lewis M. Dickens III
FUN!
Shades of the Victorian Era...
dsiple
$8.6 million for a building-sized marimba? Don't think so.